Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football / Edition 1

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Overview

"With consummate skill and an impressive command of sources . . . Peterson reconstructs this colorful aspect of America's sporting past accurately and with great immediacy" ("Kirkus Reviews"). "For lovers of football there are a number of volumes worth gift wrapping. (This one) might well top the list".--"Sports Illustrated". 22 illustrations.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Veteran magazine writer and author of two previous books on sports history, Only the Ball Was White and Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years, Peterson weaves oral history, analysis and anecdote into a play-by-play history of the game from 1920 to the 1958 championship contest between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants. In those four decades, the old power game gradually changed into one of strategy and skill. It was a transformation that greatly increased football's appeal as a spectator sport, until, as the 1958 game showed, it became inextricably bound up with the new medium of television. Improvements in the game included the advent of forward passing, the change in the shape of the ball in 1933 (the new form, as Peterson points out, is "a passer-friendly ball, but it ended the drop-kick era because the sharper point caused an erratic rebound from the ground") and the institution of the T-formation: "The overall purpose of the T-formation with man in motion was to emphasize speed and deception rather than power." According to Peterson, "During its first forty-odd years, professional football was the raggedy step-child of the glamorous college game," but the NFL started to come into its own in the late '20s and early '30s with the competent and likable New York Giants and the Notre Dame All-Stars, the latter coached by the famed Knute Rockne. Peterson highlights the careers of pivotal individuals of the early pro game such as Chicago Bears coach and owner George Halas and former Olympian and first president of the American Football Association (which would, in 1922, change its name to the NFL), Jim Thorpe. Also mentioned are John V. McNally (aka John Blood), Bulldog Turner and Paul Brown, the great first coach of the eponymous Cleveland Browns. For the genuine football aficionado interested in such esoteric particulars as the origins of the draw play, or for the curious bystander intrigued with the seemingly elusive intricacies of the sport, Pigskin is an engaging and detailed chronicle. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
YABased on lively oral histories drawn from individuals who coached or played in the early years of professional football, this narrative is vibrant and engaging. Peterson did extensive research and diligently backed it up with primary sources from newspapers as well as these personal interviews. The account covers the game's humble beginnings in 1889 when college players in the Ivy League were paid for playing football and given preferential treatment. From that point, it continues the story up to the 1958 championship game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants. Peterson discusses the formation of the NFL in 1920 and the many trials endured along the way over the subsequent 38 years. He includes some of the sport's most famous personalities such as Jim Thorpe, Red Grange, Sammy Baugh, and George Halas. The author also delves into the important contributions blacks made in the early days of "pigskin" combat. One of the most absorbing chapters is about football in America during the challenging years of World War II. The center section of black-and-white photos adds significantly to the book's appeal. An excellent bibliography and a substantial index are appended. A worthy addition to the sports section of any YA collection.Peggy Mooney, Pohick Public Library, Burke, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195119138
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,392,571
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Robert W. Peterson, a college baseball and basketball player right after World War II, has been a magazine writer for 30 years. He has written two previous books on sports history: Only the Ball Was White, on the segregated black baseball leagues before Jackie Robinson, and Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years.

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Table of Contents

1. Before the Television Bonanza 3
2. In the Beginning 13
3. The Cradle of Professionalism 23
4. The Coming of Jim Thorpe 45
5. The Birth and Infancy of the NFL 67
6. Glimmers of Glory 85
7. The Pro Style Is Born 109
8. A Debacle and the Wartime Blues 127
9. The Postwar War 147
10. Black Players and Blackballs 169
11. The Television Era Begins 191
12. Extra Points 205
Notes on Sources 213
Index 217
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    Bought this for myself for Christmas, since I had a gift card la

    Bought this for myself for Christmas, since I had a gift card laying around with a $50 balance.

    The writing is good and it flows well, follows a good
    chronological timeline.
    I'm about halfway thru now, but if the rest of the book is like the first, then I'm not disappointed. This is a great tale of the early years of pro football from 1880ish until late 50s. My complaints are, however - holy crap, 33 bucks for a paperback? What is this, a college textbook? I have no idea why so expensive, it's certainly nothing special. Another beef is the font size. Yeah, I'm getting old and need reading glasses, but jeez, this stuff is like size 8 font. Come on, man! Lastly, there's a section of photos in the middle. For $33, I'd kind of expect them to look better than if someone ran 100 copies of a black & white picture. Best bet - find a library copy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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